Yesterday morning, as I was reading the Scriptures, I was startled by Joshua’s words to the people of Israel. Nearing the end of his life, Joshua tells the people that they are “not able to serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:19). In one sense, his words were prophetic. In another sense, his words were simply stating the reality he had observed since the people left Egypt.
The truth is, none of us are able to serve the LORD as we ought. I believe, this is why Paul prays for the Ephesians. He prays that God “may grant (them) to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in (their) inner being (Ephesians 3:16). Later in the letter he will encourage them to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
In the context of these two phrases, Paul will give the Ephesians a list of commands. Things such as: live patiently, flee sexual immorality, and love your wives. Yet, I believe Paul understands that these commands are impossibilities unless the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, empowers them (Ephesians 1:19ff).
In light of these thoughts, how ought we to live? Last month, I wrote about the power of God’s Word. This month, I would like to encourage us to be a people of prayer. As we eagerly read God’s Book may we also turn God’s words into prayers, such as . . . “Lord, thank you for what you have done.” “Lord, help me to love as I ought.” “Lord, grant me to be strengthened with power . . .”
Unlike the people of God in the Old Testament, we have been indwelt by the Spirit of God. Therefore, let us humbly lean on the Spirit for our Christian walk! Let us, like Paul, pray for such strength!